As discussed in a recent article from MarketWatch, “A new working paper authored by researchers at Boston University and Stanford University investigates the ways in which foreclosures exacerbate a housing bust and reduce prices for non-distressed homes. The researchers also investigated foreclosure mitigation approaches and proposed a novel way through which government officials could stem the onset of future housing downturns.’
This paper uses a structural model to show that foreclosures played a crucial role in exacerbating the recent housing bust and to analyze foreclosure mitigation policy. We consider a dynamic search model in which foreclosures freeze the market for non-foreclosures and reduce price and sales volume by eroding lender equity, destroying the credit of potential buyers, and making buyers more selective. These effects cause price-default spirals that amplify an initial shock and help the model fit both national and cross-sectional moments better than a model without foreclosure. When calibrated to the recent bust, the model reveals that the amplification generated by foreclosures is significant: Ruined credit and choosey buyers account for 25.4 percent of the total decline in non-distressed prices and lender losses account for an additional 22.6 percent. For policy, we find that principal reduction is less cost effective than lender equity injections or introducing a single seller that holds foreclosures off the market until demand rebounds. We also show that policies that slow down the pace of foreclosures can be counterproductive.
To view the article, please click here.
To view the Paper, please click here.